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92 of 97 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Comparison versus the Xrite i1 Display Pro
I use both the Spyder4 Elite model and the Xrite EODIS3 i1Display Pro and so I can compare the different calibration systems.

If you are a professional or just serious about digital photography, you will probably be interested in the Xrite i1 Display Pro in addition to the Spyder4 Elite. The Xrite calibration default settings are more advanced than the default...
Published on November 14, 2012 by mhnstr

42 of 53 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Spyder4Elite didn't work . . . Spyder3Elite back in service
Note: In case the title is unclear, at no time has the workstation had BOTH versions of SpyderElite installed.

2012-02-23 UPDATE: END OF THE LINE - BACK TO THE Spyder"3"Elite
Since some others apparently have gotten the Spyder4Elite to work (although other reviews are general in nature and...
Published on January 27, 2012 by AFSDMS Pro User Reviews

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92 of 97 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Comparison versus the Xrite i1 Display Pro, November 14, 2012
mhnstr (Christchurch, New Zealand) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Datacolor Spyder4Elite S4EL100 Colorimeter for Display Calibration (Electronics)
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
I use both the Spyder4 Elite model and the Xrite EODIS3 i1Display Pro and so I can compare the different calibration systems.

If you are a professional or just serious about digital photography, you will probably be interested in the Xrite i1 Display Pro in addition to the Spyder4 Elite. The Xrite calibration default settings are more advanced than the default settings of the Sypder4 calibration systems. However, the Sypder4 Elite does offer the same features as the Xrite systems if you are willing to dig through the advanced settings. In addition, the Sypder4 software is more user friendly and easier to use than the Xrite software. With the Xrite software, you really need to spend time getting the settings correct and I am always frustrated that my calibrated display doesn't match so many of the swatches used in the Xrite analysis.

A very significant advantage of the Spyder4 Elite is that it can have one profile for each monitor attached to your computer. As far as I can tell, the Xrite software only allows for one profile to be used at a time. This is fine if you swap between monitors (such as a laptop monitor and an external monitor where you only use one at a time) but results in not being able to calibrate two or more monitors if you use them all at the same time. If this is unacceptable to you, then you should consider the Spyder4 Elite instead of the Xrite systems.

First Impression of the Spyder4 Elite
The first time that I used the Spyder4 Elite, I thought it was too simplistic and many of the features that I have come to expect after using the Xrite colorimeters were missing. However, after I used the Spyder4 for a while, I found that most of the features that I thought were missing were there but hidden in the advanced settings or the tools pull down menu. The hidden features include the ability to use the monitor's controls to adjust the RGB gains individually. Before I discovered the advanced settings, I was going to recommend the Xrite system instead of the Spyder4 Elite. However, once I discovered the Spyder4 advanced features, the advantages of the Xrite i1 Display Pro over the Spyder4 Elite became negligible in my opinion.

The software installed easily on my Windows 7 64 bit and Windows XP 64 bit computers. After registering online, I was prompted to download an update (version 4.5.4 which is about 70 MB) which also installed easily. The software also alerted me that I had another calibration program in the Startup folder. This was important to know so that there weren't conflicts between different calibration programs.

Once the software was installed, I plugged the colorimeter into a USB port, but found the device was not recognized. The documentation specifically states that the colorimeter should not be plugged into front ports, powered hubs, monitor or keyboard ports. The documentation also recommends unplugging all of your peripherals, but that seemed overkill to me and I left my keyboard and mouse plugged into their USB hub. My laptop only has three USB ports and the Spyder4 Elite colorimeter would only work if plugged into one of them. If found the same problem when I plugged in my Spyder4 Pro colorimeter. However, I had no problem with desktop computers not recognizing the colorimeter, even when I used the front USB ports which the Spyder4 documentation recommends against using.

A nice feature about the Spyder4 software is that calibration is straightforward for simple calibrations. You simply choose the type of monitor that you want to calibrate (laptop versus external LCD or a CRT). You set the target values that you would like for the calibration and recommended values for the Gamma, Brightness and Temperature are noted and you choose which monitor is to be calibrated if more than one display is attached to your computer.

The first step of the calibration is an ambient light check. However, during the process, there is no indication about how the sensor should be positioned during the ambient light measurements. It would have been nice to know if it should have been in front of the screen or which way to face it. Based on the ambient light, new values for the brightness and temperature are recommended. You can choose to use the recommended values are the original values that you selected.

You are instructed to use the monitor controls if applicable to adjust the RGB settings. The default setting of the Spyder4 software only allows you to use the monitor controls to adjust the RGB gains if your monitor allows you to set temperatures. This in my opinion is a problem since other calibrator allowed you to change each RGB channel. However, under the advanced features, there is the option to adjust each of the RGB gains. Although setting the temperature is faster, I have found that setting the individual sliders brings the RGB gains more in line with what you are trying to achieve than the monitor's temperature settings. I certainly recommend only using the sliders and not the temperature settings.

Some of the monitors that I calibrated had the awkward problem of showing their monitor control panel in the middle of the screen which is just where the calibrator wanted to be placed. At first I slid the calibrator to one side to reveal the monitor control panel and kept it there as I tweaked the settings. However, then I found that while I had set the RGB gains and the brightness correctly for the location where the monitor had been moved, they were not correct for the center of the screen. Obviously, these monitors had issues with screen uniformity. So, I then began the process of tweaking the gains while the calibrator was pushed to one side and then moving the calibrator back into place to take the reading. This is not the fault with the Spyder4 system, but it was annoying. It is because of problems like these that I assume the Spyder4 system requires you to click a button to tell it to sample after you change the gains rather than to continuously sample from the screen.

In addition to setting the RGB gains, you are asked to adjust the brightness of the display to the desired target. Instead, you need to change the brightness using the monitor controls and then click a button and wait for a new measurement. Once the brightness is set, the calibration resumes. You are asked to change the display's brightness again before the presentation of the color swatches begins.

At the end of the calibration process, the software displays an image that you can view both with and without the new color profile. It is possible to tweak the calibration using SpyderTune which allows you to use sliders to change the white point, gamma and brightness. It is also possible to see how well the calibrated monitor matches the sRGB, CMYK and Adobe RGB color spaces. I really appreciated being able to determine how well my monitor produced the color spaces. You can also compare past calibration results to the current calibration to see which better matched the color space. The best that I was able to achieve was 98% sRGB and 76% Adobe RGB. However, I also like to view the RGB curves to be able to see how much each needed to be adjusted to match the desired Gamma and temperature. Fortunately, this is possible under the Tools pull down menu at the top of the screen.

Analysis of the Profile
The Elite versions offer an advanced analysis option for analyzing how well the calibration met the settings you selected. The analysis includes:
- Gamut
- Tone response
- Brightness and contrast - at different settings of the brightness but only brightness, not contrast settings
- White point at different OSD settings
- Screen uniformity
- Color Accuracy
- A final report card of the monitor's performance based on the results of the tests

I found these tools to be very useful for helping me to understand how well my monitors were matching the temperature, Gamma and brightness that I wanted. However, a limitation is that you can not change the set of colors which are used for the assessment. The Xrite software allows you to choose different patch sets for the analysis.

Profile Chooser
A separate program which is installed under the Datacolor directory is called Profile Chooser. This program allows you to choose which calibrated profile you would like to apply. This is especially useful if you have a bad calibration and want to return to an older version. A list of available profiles is show on each of the monitors attached to the computer which is a nice feature.

Online Support
I found the FAQ and knowledge base on the Datacolor website to be limited and not straightforward to use. For example, searching the database for "ambient light" results in lots of hits including information for prior versions and in other languages. You then need to sort through all of the retrieved information which makes the online FAQ pretty much useless. Fortunately, the Spyder4 software includes instructions which I found to be helpful most of the time.

The Spyder4 Elite offers a very effective means of easily calibrating your monitors. Overall, I was really impressed by how well the Spyder4 Elite worked using the advanced features. The whole calibration experience was a lot less frustrating than that using the Xrite software. I would recommend the Spyder4 Elite over the Xrite i1 Display Pro due to:

- the Spyder 4 software is more user friendly than the Xrite sotware
- both offer the same features if you are willing to look for them in the Spyder4 software
- the Spyder4 can calibrate multiple monitors on the same computer

However, be prepared for your laptop not to recognize the Spyder4 colorimeter if it is plugged into certain USB ports and the online support is limited. Furthermore, in my opinion, an important step in the calibration process is the adjustment of the monitor controls (applicable to external monitors but not to most laptops) to adjust the red, green and blue (RGB) gains towards the desired temperature so that the profile does not have to make a large adjustment to set the correct temperature. By default, Spyder4 prompts the user to set the temperature of the monitor rather than to use the sliders. I believe that the use of the RGB gains should be the default rather than the temperature. However, I think that setting the temperature was set as the default since it is easier but at the cost of being less precise.
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31 of 34 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Spyder4 Elite Is A Great Tool for Photographers, February 5, 2012
David Saffir ( - See all my reviews
This review is from: Datacolor Spyder4Elite S4EL100 Colorimeter for Display Calibration (Electronics)
The Spyder4 Elite is a great tool for photographers. I use it on both my wide-gamut desktop display and my laptop, both running Snow Leopard. Install is a snap and trouble-free, and operation is as promised. (software needs a key code to operate). It can be used fully automated or customized to my needs. The software interface is wizard-driven, and the help screens actually make sense!

As I am both a photographer and printmaker, I need a device that can provide excellent color detail, smooth midtone transitions, and can protect shadow/highlight detail. In the end, I find that performance in these areas, and screen to print match are _excellent_ - which is a good thing, as lately my print customers all seem to be leaning toward more exotic fine art papers, which require a bit of finesse in image editing to tease out the best color. Delta-E on my display after calibration is 0.7, excellent performance by any standard.

As an additional note, in the past I have not had much luck calibrating projectors, but the Spyder4 is uncomplicated in operation and gets the job done. Last, the Elite version provides a suite of display quality control checks and tests that go way beyond color pass/fail.

Overall, a good investment and a very useful tool.

David Saffir
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30 of 33 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Improved color and great new feature, February 1, 2012
This review is from: Datacolor Spyder4Elite S4EL100 Colorimeter for Display Calibration (Electronics)
After owning a Pro Spyder3 model for about 3 years, I decided to upgrade. I A friend told me about the new Spyder4 products and said the Elite model had some new features, so I checked the Datacolor website to see what was new. I run dual monitors in my Windows setup and have always had a problem getting them to look consistent. I read a review about a new feature in the Elite that is called Spyder Tune that makes it easy to fine-tune the settings of both monitors. After installing the new Elite, I agree that it is the best feature and is very easy to use. You can adjust the brightness, gamma and white point of multiple monitors side-by-side. This feature has slider controls that adjust these settings and you can see the results immediately, so it's easy to match the monitors. Once you are satisfied with the adjustments, you just save the settings and that's it. I'm very fussy about matching images and this is just what I needed to help with this problem.

Datacolor claims the new Spyder4 is more accurate than the previous 3 model. After calibrating, the color does seem a bit better than with my old Pro model. But I love the new Tune feature - that is worth the upgrade just by itself! I definitely recommend this if you run multiple monitors in your setup. It is easy to tweak the settings and saves you lots of time.

Overall, this product works well and I am very happy with it.
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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Easy to use and great results, August 13, 2012
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: Datacolor Spyder4Elite S4EL100 Colorimeter for Display Calibration (Electronics)
I calibrate my monitor quite often to ensure great quality and consistent colors between pictures. In the past I used a competing brand simply because at that time that brand was less expensive and I thought.. well why not! This was several years ago. When the Spider 4 Elite came out, I decided to replace my other brand for a couple of reasons. 1) Way easier to use and 2) it came with a stand to stand next to my monitor at a very easy reach. Now, to elaborate on some of these that were to me important:

1) Easier to use: it is really easy to use. As the other brand, the Spider 4 Elite also comes with an ambient light measure. The difference however is that the other brand measures it and tells you whereas the Spider 4 Elite measures, tells you, AND adjusts the monitor accordingly. I have tested this such that I had my shades pulled open and closed and anywhere in between where I thought the light was to my liking. The Spider 4 Elite told me that forget about opening the shades because the light is out of control! I loved that! Now I know precisely where to keep my shades to be comfortable for me to see my keyboard without interfering with my monitor! LOVE that!

2) The stand... you'd think "no big deal" but yes, it is! The other brand had to sit either on top of the monitor--which made it fall on several occasions--or just lay on the top of my computer desk, in which case it often had things end up on it or knocking it off the desk all together. The Spider 4 Elite comes with its own stand, which places the measuring unit vertically suspended and out of the way but next to the monitor, making it very easy to attach to the monitor and re-calibrate in one second. It also has a blue flashing light letting you know that it is "alive" and is monitoring your ambient light, making adjustments to your monitor such that even if your ambient light changes (within limit), the calibration "follows" to set your monitor brighter or dimmer in response to what light you have in your office. This is great for ongoing minor adjustments so I can keep on working and have consistent results even with some changes in my room light.

And although I did not list a 3rd point earlier, I must add a 3rd: the price has come down to the point where I find the Spider 4 Elite a better deal given the other 2 points I just listed. It can also calibrate my printer, which I have not yet done since I normally send my work to a professional printing lab rather than printing at home.
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16 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Absolutely Required for Serious Photographers, October 20, 2012
This review is from: Datacolor Spyder4Elite S4EL100 Colorimeter for Display Calibration (Electronics)
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
This review is based on 4 months usage on a Dell Inspiron Windows 7 x64 system; two Dell U2410 (IPS) monitors working in the Adobe RGB gamut with final output (both print and digital) to Srgb. On Occasion I will output print to Adobe RGB.

The Spyder Elite 4 is the most advanced (and latest) color calibrator in the Spyder line by Datacolor. This product is primarily intended for intermediate to professional photographers and graphic designers utilizing print as a final product. It calibrates your monitor color for accuracy (most monitors are not accurate and color display is influenced by a plethora of variables). In the post processing workflow, using the Spyder and a color calibrated monitor, you will accurately process your images for print. Without it, the final color output is anyone's guess. It really is not a "needed product" unless you are a graphic designer or intermediate (serious) to professional photographer with clients and you are printing to final output. Otherwise, I opine you do not need this product (for example, point and shooters or casual mom and dad shooters). If you earn any money from your work, you cannot be a professional unless you calibrate your monitor and utilize it during your entire workflow, including final print output. You also need to remember that using this product will not ensure others who digitally see your work will view color rendition accurately. Everyone's monitors are calibrated differently, are of varying quality, subject to environmental influence, and many people do not even understand color space or profiling. This is why pros convert images to srgb (standard RGB color space) for digital distribution because it is the "lowest common denominator" and nearly all browsers ONLY display in Srgb and only expensive monitors can display better color profiles. Even then, chances are people are viewing an inaccurate color representation of your image and don't even get me started on what Facebook does to your images.

As a part-time professional, I use a Dell UltraSharp U2410 24-inch Widescreen LCD High Performance Monitor (IPS Panel) with HDMI, DVI, DisplayPort and HDCP (dual setup which is why I use the Elite or Pro series of Spyders) for post processing. I also shoot in the Adobe RGB color space from my camera (Nikon D300s) and post process in that same color space. This is where the Spyder, combined with a quality monitor like the U2410 really shines because it allows me to work in the wider color gamut (think- smoother shade transitions or gradients). I can then send to the print house in that color space or convert to Srgb (actually the preferred color space for most professional print houses). I owned previous Spyders including the Datacolor DC S3P100 Spyder 3 Pro and the Spyder 4 Pro. So, I am very familiar with the system. It is incredibly easy to setup and use (even for a first timer) but you should allow at least 30 minutes for first use/installation. The package contains the Spyder4 unit, stand, rubber cup for CRT monitors, software and a quick guide with detailed instructions on the CD. Before installing, check for a new version of the software; Datacolor frequently updates all its software. Whatever you do, do not lose the serial number included on the CD sleeve. Without that serial number, you cannot install the software.

Prior to installing let your monitors warm up for at least 1/2 hour (I never post process until monitors are warmed up). I also recommend updating your graphics card drivers prior to installing and do a full reboot. Installing the software is easy- plugging the Spyder into a USB port (I do not recommend using an external USB hub). Of course, install the software first (it should automatically check for a newer version on install). The Spyder itself is a sleek device. When using it, you will simply follow instructions by lining up the device on the screen with an outline. I suggest you slightly tilt your monitor back for a better "seal" that will block out any light from either side. Also, adjust the light in the room to a setting that you would normally use. The Spyder uses ambient light measurement to calculate how to color map the profile. On the USB cord there is a counter-weight that goes behind the monitor to stabilize the device. Perfect design in my opinion. On first use you will need to do a full calibration. SIMPLY follow the instructions (no need to rehash them here). Allow some time for this process and do not leave your monitor until you adjust the brightness-whitepoint setting as indicated by the software. On successive calibrations, you have an option of a quick "recalc" which is must faster. I normally do a full calibration every time by habit.

Spyder has never crashed my system (Windows 7 x64) and always performed flawlessly. I think better results are achieved with higher end monitors designed for color accuracy from the start (like the Dell U2410). Either way, if you are in the image or graphics design business, this is a must have product. There are much more expensive options out there. However, Datacolor has always done a fine job by me and I stick with them because of that and the frequency at which they update their drivers. Plus, I can now color profile my Ipad (Spyder app needed from Itunes store) and projector. How cool is that?

ELITE versus PRO versions. Both versions are essentially the same and most people will easily (emphasis added) be able to use the pro version just fine and at a lower cost. There is no hardware difference; the difference is in the software. They both perform dual (multiple) monitor calibration. The Elite offers some advanced options including advanced MQA and color/luminance uniformity graphing, two features I never missed when using the Pro version of the Spyder. One feature that may influence your version decision is that the Elite version calibrates projectors. But, to be honest, I doubt you would notice the change in a projector setting and I never use a projector to display serious work. Be sure to use the comparison chart because you may be able to save even more money by purchasing the express version, which should be just fine for those approaching the intermediate level of photography. I would consider most aspects of this review applicable to the Pro version.
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42 of 53 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Spyder4Elite didn't work . . . Spyder3Elite back in service, January 27, 2012
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: Datacolor Spyder4Elite S4EL100 Colorimeter for Display Calibration (Electronics)
Note: In case the title is unclear, at no time has the workstation had BOTH versions of SpyderElite installed.

2012-02-23 UPDATE: END OF THE LINE - BACK TO THE Spyder"3"Elite
Since some others apparently have gotten the Spyder4Elite to work (although other reviews are general in nature and not clear that they have actually placed them in use) I think it likely that the particular Spyder4 Colorimeter I received was defective. I will up their rating by 1 Star on that possibility. If others have success I may try the "4" again at a later date.

Hopefully any other owners who might get a defective unit, or a refurbished one, will meet with more attentiveness from DataColor.

One Comment mentioned the previous Spyder might not have done a good job of cleaning up after itself when it was uninstalled. That is not the case here as DataColor when we were trying to debug the issue provided two special technical applications to completely clean all entries left behind by their products.

I am now back to the "3" version which runs without problems.

IMPROVED EXPERIENCE with DataColor Customer Support:
After Datacolor suggested I request an RMA to return the sensor for them to look at I responded that I expected some sort of expedited exchange to see if this could be made to work. After 2 business days with no response, I returned the non-functioning unit. A day later I did hear from Datacolor. They offered to expedite the exchange and actually had a unique way to do it. . .but it was too late. Too bad, but not exactly stellar performance since the ticket I opened with Customer Service was flagged as High Priority.

In summary, I'm not sure what is wrong with the Spyder4Elite (details below) as compared with the "3" version, but make sure you purchase it from someone who will stand behind it and offer a refund if you have the same problems we confirmed with the unit. My thanks to for being there when Datacolor wasn't.

I have deinstalled and reverted to the Spyder3Elite with some saddness that the "4" just does not work on my very stable high-performance (not overclocked though or tweaked in any other way to impact stability) workstation. It is running Windows 7 Pro 64-bit with the latest drivers for my very stable Intel HD 3000 graphics chip set.

I was going to caution, if you should decide to go ahead and buy this unit immediately, to ONLY buy from "Sold by Amazon" so you have clear and cost-effective recourse if yours is defective or doesn't work. I purchased BOTH my Spyder3Elite and the Spyder4Elite from "Sold by Amazon." I just searched and, strange as it seems, as of Noon this date this is only sold by individual merchants. IT IS NO LONGER SOLD BY AMAZON. Caveat Emptor!

Datacolor (Switzerland) got back to me within 10 hours with a multi-step process of downloading custom utilities to remove all Spyder3Elite and Spyder4Elite traces after removing "4" yet again. They then had me reinstall from a download link they sent me. It was the exact same link I had used to download the program in the first place. Same identical bad profile and issues.

Still can load an old Spyder3Elite created profile and display is then excellent. I sent them both a good and a bad profile (.ICM) file so they can look inside them perhaps, but this appears to be a software issue.

2012-01-26 Original review:
This was just received. I got it from "Sold by Amazon" and am thankful for that as a security blanket in this purchase. We also have a Spyder3Elite in use. Datacolor DC S3EL100 Spyder 3 Elite The "4" was installed on a main workstation that was running the Spyder3Elite. We deinstalled the previous model and the software and programs before beginning the Spyder4Elite install.

After two FULL uninstall and reinstalls the software still exhibits a problem in the calibration cycle at the White point setting. I know this process like the back of my hand and when it gets there the screen blinks and with "4" instead of being a neutral white it has a VERY heavy and dark cyan cast. The software reports that the monitor (an LCD IPS panel that is beautiful with Spyder3) cannot reach the brightness level. After adjusting that it continues, but later in the process it reports having to make a change because the brightness is too high.

The final profile created for the monitor appears to be null. Toggling it on and off makes no difference.

Interestingly we can use the Color Profile applet provided by Datacolor to select one of the older .icm profiles from Ver "3" and the monitor snaps to an excellent profile. This is with Spyder4Elite still installed and running! So the profile being created by Spyder4Elite is corrupted or just wrong. (I'm looking to see if we have any tools to peek inside the profile to see what is going on.)

I have a couple tickets open with Datacolor on this but that system has a message saying something about a heavy burden coming in and that it may take some time to respond.

The new features do look interesting and perhaps useful but AGAIN with this version there is NO User Manual or software documentation. Datacolor tells buyers to use the Help System while in the program. The very high level Users Guide isn't even available in PDF form on the website. (You do get a small paper version of the User Guide with the hardware and software CD.)

The new colorimeter looks exactly like the Ver 3 one, only painted a flat black. (The other one has a dark metallic gray main body that looks a bit like an alien and is actually cool :-)

We invested in this in hopes the marketing information about the base colorimeter performance was true (although the "3" has been doing a very good job) but there are some serious issues with the software. It makes no sense that a very new high performance dedicated imaging and video workstation with up to date video drivers that had been running Spyder3Elite perfectly would have a complete failure with Spyder4Elite. We did a complete deinstall of all the Version 3 software before the install and went through the process twice.

We will have to remove the Spyder4 from the system and revert to Spyder3 until Datacolor comes back to us. I'm hoping it is some very simple thing that creeped in and is an easy fix.

However, for those new to Spyder that lack of ANY adequate documentation on this otherwise powerful will make your learning curve extremely steep. That has been made clear to Datacolor in numerous reviews and in my own messages to them.

I am updating this review (above) as Datacolor works on the issue.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Good but slow, August 7, 2013
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: Datacolor Spyder4Elite S4EL100 Colorimeter for Display Calibration (Electronics)
I have both a Datacolor Spyder4Elite and an X-Rite i1Display Pro. Both give good results on my Dell U3011 30" Wide-Gamut monitor. The X-Rite unit is much faster, allowing it to create a more complete color correction table in a shorter time. I've found the color correction with the X-Rite to be somewhat better that the Datacolor, but not by so much that it is significant in most cases. I actually use 3 monitors (mostly because I had them). One is the Dell, one is an old Samsung CCFL LCD panel and one is a 2008 (or 2009?) Samsung LED LCD panel. Interestingly, the older CCFL panel has better color than the LED panel, but the LED panel is brighter. The Dell is the monitor I use for all critical work. No color calibration will make these three monitors match, because they are simply to different in technology and their weak colors are different. The best you can do is get the narrow gamut colors the same.

Comparing the color correction with both units, they give very similar optimized results when the software is setup similarly.

I like the Spyder software better that the X-Rite software, but both work well. The Spyder software is more intuitive and steps you through the calibration process better. It allows easy options for calibrating multiple monitors, although even with the best possible calibration, you'll see differences between different monitor types.

The Spyder software provides for an iterative (but slow) grey balance at different luminosities. The X-Rite software does not do this, but allows you to set up your own color patches for correction points, and gives some more options on the type of color profiling to be done. You can make a very complete table of color corrections, which with the speed of the X-Rite unit is practical whereas it would be painfully slow to do fine gradations of correction points with the Spyder unit. With the X-Rite unit, you can also choose several custom color patches to set up calibration points based on Pantone colors or based on colors from your own photographs.

Both software packages install a timer that monitors when you last calibrated your display and reminds you to redo the calibration at an interval you set. The both write a color profile that works in the windows color system, and automatically loads that profile as your default. The Spyder version allows you to turn that profile on and off easily, but I'm not sure why you would want to.

I feel the X-Rite unit and software has the advantage in measuring and writing the profile, but the Spyder software is better at analyzing the performance of the monitor.

I use the X-Rite pretty much exclusively now because of speed.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great!, June 29, 2012
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: Datacolor Spyder4Elite S4EL100 Colorimeter for Display Calibration (Electronics)
If anyone out there has more than one computer, I suggest purchasing the elite. It has calibrated 3 different computers (including two computers with two monitors). I have also purchased the add on pack to calibrate TVs (available for about 70 dollars from Datacolor's site, ships from NJ). Datacolor seems to not limit the number of computers you can install their software on, so you can use this device to calibrate multiple computers in your home, or possibly your friend's computers too. Pictures look much better after calibration. The only down side to this product is finding out how terrible your laptop's screen really is!
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Disappointing Results, Clunky Interface, August 24, 2014
This review is from: Datacolor Spyder4Elite S4EL100 Colorimeter for Display Calibration (Electronics)
This is a comparison of the Datacolor Spyder4 Elite and the X-Rite i1Display Pro, both of which I had here at the same time.

First, let's compare the physical devices themselves. The Spyder4 device is purposely designed to look like a "spider" (if spiders had 3 legs) to stay in line with the marketing of the name brand. It's a very large device. It's hung from its own USB cable from the top of the monitor, with a counterweight in the back to keep the device in place. It's very large, which can make it difficult to use on the lower sections of the screen during screen uniformity tests. I have a large-ish 27" monitor, and I had to hold the spider in place at a 90 degree angle with my hands during those parts of screen testing. In addition, the position of the cable on the device means that if you have a screen that sits deep in its bezel, it's physically impossible for the Spyder4 to sit flat against the screen on its own unless you can tilt the monitor way back. Even on my screen with relatively shallow bezels, and with a stand that can tilt back 20 degrees, it was often difficult to get it sitting flat on the screen. This can get frustrating.

On the other hand, the i1Display Pro is a very small device that can easily fit anywhere on your screen. The setup is mostly the same, where you hang the device from its USB cable over the top of your display, with a counterweight to hold it in place. In this case, the cable is positioned so that it contributes towards holding the device flat against the screen, no matter how deep your panel sits compared to the bezels. I never had any trouble getting it to sit flat against my screen, I didn't even need to resort to tilting the screen. And it sat comfortably flat on its own anywhere on the screen, even at the extreme bottom corners where the Spyder4 could not reach.

There are really 2 main performance criteria to consider with these devices: speed and accuracy. I used these devices with their respective software packages, so I'm not sure if they'd work differently in a single profiling software package that supports both of them. However the differences I observed within their own environments were very noticeable. First and foremost, the Spyder4 was clunky and slow, while the i1Display Pro was lightning fast and intuitive. For example, while setting brightness and contrast early on in the profiling process, the Spyder4 would take a reading, ask me to make changes, then wait for me to click the "Update" button to take another reading and update the results. This is slow, tedious and error prone. Meanwhile, the i1Profiler software gave me a constant readout of the screen brightness as I made changes, with results displaying immediately.

Also, during the profiling process, the Spyder4 Elite software frequently paused to wait unnecessarily for my input. For example, after setting the brightness properly, there was another button to proceed with profiling. And when it was done profiling, there was another button to "Finish". And these buttons show up half-hidden under the Spyder4 device itself, with no obvious screen prompts to let you know they're there. So if you're away from your desk and just glancing at the screen once in a while, you might not realize that the profiling process is waiting for your input. It's a very frustrating design.

On the other hand, the i1Profiler software had no such issues. When there were prompts, they were few and far between, and clearly noticeable from anywhere in the room. Most of the process was very automated. The ability of the software to adjust most monitors automatically makes the process even more quick and straightforward.

Patch color reading with the Spyder4 is painfully slow. A patch is displayed, the Spyder4 flashes briefly, then there's an interminable moment before the next patch comes up and the process repeats again. With the i1Display Pro, patch color reading is blazing fast. You can see color patches flying through the display faster than they can be identified by eye. The reading speed for each patch can vary, so I assume the software is waiting for the color to stabilize before accepting the reading from the device. This gives me confidence that the software is performing its job as fast as it can while still being accurate.

The end result with the Spyder 4 was disappointing. I always ended up with a magenta cast on my Dell U2317H. This was true with the monitor in both sRGB and wide-gamut modes. On my super-old Asus V242H, I ended up with a blue cast (this is an sRGB CCFL LCD monitor).

The i1Display Pro is directly supported by my Dell monitor for hardware calibrating, and results were superb. I was able to add a flawless sRGB preset and a full-gamut preset that covered 99.5% AdobeRGB (plus much, much more beyond). Colors are neutral, whites are white, and shadows are crisp and detailed while still reaching pitch black levels. These settings are stored right in my monitor's LUT, so they're not dependent on a software LUT modification in the video card.

I also used the i1Display Pro to calibrate my Asus monitor using software calibration. Results were again superb. My Asus perfectly matches the Dell when I have the latter set to my custom sRGB mode.

As far as software features go, I found the Spyder4 Elite software to be kludgy and clunky. It's mostly geared for consumers, with most of the advanced stuff hidden away. Even then, the advanced stuff isn't very configurable. The different package levels of Spyder4 (Basic, Pro, Elite) don't actually have anything to do with the device. They all come with the exact same device. It's just that certain software features are arbitrarily removed from the software as you go down in tiers. This makes the varying cost of each level kinda suspect. I'm pretty sure they're not making a loss on the Basic version, so they must be more than doubling their profits on the Elite version in comparison. It's not like they developed 3 different versions of the software for each level. They just developed the main one, then hacked away at the good stuff for the other levels.

In contrast, the i1Profiler software is incredibly advanced and can do just about anything... but getting it to perform anything beyond the built-in generic tasks is very difficult. You can build your own workflows from scratch, but this tales knowledge and experience and a lot of manual work. Once the workflow is created and saved, you can run it anytime with just a couple of clicks. There are no different levels of this software, no "Pro" vs "Basic". However there are certain features in the software which are enabled/disabled depending on which device you have plugged in. For the i1Display Pro, only the monitor and projector modules are active. You need different devices to calibrate a scanner or printer, etc, all of which gets done in this exact same software.

I ended up returning the Spyder4. Results were disappointing, and after I got to try the i1Display Pro, the Spyder4 just paled in comparison. It's like comparing a point-and-shoot camera (Spyder4) with a full-featured DSLR (i1Display Pro).
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Wildly different results on various monitors, February 21, 2014
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: Datacolor Spyder4Elite S4EL100 Colorimeter for Display Calibration (Electronics)
I had purchased the "pro" awhile back and was disappointed with the results. It did not allow for accurate calibration between two different monitors. After contacting the company I learned that for the more advanced tools I would need the "elite". So I ended up returning the pro and purchasing the elite on Amazon. It was clearly well used when it arrived. Dirt and dust on the device along with torn packaging and manuals that were bent and creased. That was the first disappointment. Next the results were very different from monitor to monitor. Color was not accurate, nor were contrast and brightness settings. Even with the advanced tools for matching up monitors the product did not work well. I am easily able to match colors, brightness, contrast and gamma settings by eye with greater accuracy than what can be done with Datacolor's Spyder.
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